Finding Fault in Virginia Sideswipe Accidents
Virginia sideswipe accidents typically occur when vehicles traveling on a parallel course are involved in a collision. These wrecks are often caused by an improper lane change but determining fault os often an issue. They may also be single-vehicle accidents.
There are many reasons for sideswipe accidents. They may be due to a lapse in concentration, a driver failing to notice a vehicle in his or her blind spot or distracted, fatigued, high speed, or drunk driving.
Although sideswipe accidents are often not be as serious as T-bone or head-on crashes, they can be fatal if they cause a vehicle to swerve and hit other road traffic or to roll over, or leave the highway and hit trees.
Sideswipe accidents can be particularly serious when a larger vehicle hits a much smaller one such as when a bus hits a cyclist or a truck gives a glancing blow to a motorcyclist leading to the victim being thrown off their bike.
Sometimes sideswipe accidents are single vehicle wrecks. A car, truck or motorcycle hits an inanimate object like a crash barrier, a road sign or a vehicle that’s parallel parked at the side of the road. Often in sideswiping accidents, the initial contact is a prelude to a more serious automobile accident. A driver who hits another car or an inanimate object may overreact by overcorrecting or swerving quickly into the road as a reaction to the initial impact. This could lead to a serious rollover or head-on accident or other types of contact with vehicles on the highway.
Causes of Virginia Sideswipe Accidents
There are many causes of sideswipe accidents in Virginia. The main ones are:
- Texting or being distracted while driving;
- Failing to check a blind spot before making a lane change;
- Tired or drowsy driving that causes a driver to drift across the road;
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol;
- Driving under the influence of prescribed drugs;
- Losing control of your vehicle in wet weather.
What Are the Virginia Rules Related to Lane Changes?
The Virginia Driver’s Manual published by the Department of Motor Vehicles states drivers must check their side and rearview mirrors for traffic approaching from behind them before changing lanes.
You should use your turn signal to tell other drivers you plan to change lanes. First check for other drivers who also may be moving into the lane you are considering moving into. Shortly before you start moving into the other lane, glance over your shoulder and look out for any vehicles that may be in your blind spot. The manual states that drivers who are changing lanes, passing other vehicles or entering or leaving a highway, must always use their turn signals and check traffic to the rear and sides. When driving on a multi-lane highway, you should travel in the right lane if driving slower than the traffic around you. The left lane is for passing only.
Virginia recently enacted a law intended to stop slower drivers remaining in the left lane. The law enacted on July 1, 2017, set a $100 fine for motorists driving too slowly in the left lane, failing to remain in the right side except when passing, and other violations like crossing a double yellow line. Before that, these infractions were considered legal violations but had no fines attached to them.
Thousands of people have been fined under the new law. When drivers are not moving over in the left lane, motorists behind them become frustrated and often seek to pass them on the right. This is a dangerous scenario more likely to result in sideswipe accidents.
Contact a Lawyer Experienced in Fighting Virginia Sideswipe Accidents
At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, we have helped many people who were hurt in Virginia sideswipe accidents. If a sideswipe accident has merely caused dents or other property damage, you may not need the help of a lawyer. Sadly, these incidents often cause chain-reaction accidents and lead to serious injuries. It may not always be obvious who was to blame for a sideswipe accident. Please contact our experienced Virginia Beach accident lawyers today if you or a loved one has been hurt in a sideswipe wreck at (757) 455-0077.